Well, this is an unexpected change. When I started this episodic review series, I was planning on just reviewing new shows as they air or as I watch them. But there’s not a whole lot that’s on that I want to watch. I watch The Walking Dead, but it’d feel weird to start reviewing it nine seasons in.
I read 11/22/63 by Stephen King back in November 2015, while I was in the hospital. Halfway through it I found out that they were turning it into a miniseries on Hulu produced by J. J. Abrams and starring James Franco. That’s, like, four of my favourite things at once! (J. J., James Franco, Stephen King, and…….the Kennedy Assassination……….)
I watched it in 2016 as it was airing, but I didn’t review it then. I started rewatching it today because I was bored, and near the end of the episode I decided to review it here! Which changes what this series is for me. Now I can review older things, not just new shows. That’s mainly what I watch, anyway. Older shows.
Anyway, there was a bunch of changes made to the story. Which is understandable, seeing as it’s an 849 page book that they were adapting into an eight episode miniseries. Some changes had to be made. But things were added that weren’t in the book which makes me question why they did that. Why take things out for time, but then add more things in.
But I’m rambling.
The story starts with Harry Dunning telling his story, much like the book did. Then it rushes Jake Epping (James Franco) to the diner for everything to happen.
In the book, Al Templeton and Jake spend several days, up to a week, planning Jake’s trip back to 1958. Jake goes and rescues a little girl, then saves Harry as a kid, then comes back to see how it effected the present.
In the miniseries, it’s over night. Jake finds out, Al somehow tells Jake everything he needs to know in one sitting, Al dies, Jake goes on the long trip the first time. Also now it’s 1960.
It might not seem like a big deal, but in the book there’s more story there, and it feels like Stephen King planned everything out better. Even though King is an executive producer on the show, it feels like everything is rushed to make it fit into the first episode. But the first episode is an hour an a half long, and he goes to 1960 half an hour in. The rest of the episode is him tailing someone Al suspects told Lee Harvey Oswald to kill Kennedy.
They easily could have slowed it down and spent the hour and a half doing the first trip, him coming back, and preparing for the second, longer trip.
But I don’t want to be one of those people who are like, “This is how they should have done it”. Even though I technically just did that.
Book aside, it was a very good first episode. They really get the feeling of the era down. For the book, Stephen King spent several years researching every minute detail, and it’s obvious they attempted to do the same for the show.